It would be 'bonkers' to not build HS2 in full says Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

It would be “bonkers” to not build HS2 in full including the Eastern Leg from Birmingham to Leeds, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. (PA)
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. (PA)

Mr Khan said the project could have been approaching completion by now if Labour were still in power, as he spoke about his “upset” that things have gone so far off track.

HS2 has been a hot topic at Labour’s annual conference in Brighton and the subject of many discussions, including one yesterday between West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, in which the former said she thought the project to Leeds was currently “paused”.

When asked about the rumours of the Eastern Leg being scrapped or delayed, Mr Khan said: “I hope it’s not scrapped, if it’s scrapped it’s bonkers”

“One of the things that I always find astonishing as a Londoner, I can get to parts of the north by far quicker, from south to north than from east to west or west to east or it doesn't make sense.

“So often it's the true story often when I meet mayors across the country together the easiest place to meet is London, that can't be right.”

Mr Khan compared the progress of HS2 with that of the Crossrail project in London, which were both launched by the Government around the same time.

He said of the Government: “Had they carried on with HS2, as we planned for when we lost in 2010 it would have been built by now.

“Crossrail and HS2 had the same birth .

“Crossrail will open next year,” Mr Khan said, before shrugging his shoulders at the suggestion of when the same might happen for HS2.

“That's because you know there's been a lack of urgency from the Civil Service and the Government,” he added.

“We've had 11 years of Tory Prime Minister’s, so you can't blame anybody else for his lack of investment, that's why it upsets me.”

Speaking later on the subject, new West Yorkshire Mayor and former Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin said that she is “speaking to ministers, it feels like on a daily basis, trying to get information out of them”, before adding: “It does feel like it is paused.”